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Slum Areas in Westlands


The settlement is situated in Highridge Location. Residents say the first settlers were landless people who had migrated to Nairobi. They initially settled where the Gitathuru River crosses Limuru Road, but due to frequent flooding they later moved upwards towards Highridge. A Mzee Masai allowed families to settle at a fee of Ksh. 20 in 1968. At the time the settled area exceeded 20 acres. Many households engaged in farming, but gradually they were squeezed through allocations to private developers, such that private residential houses and schools now occupy the places they used to farm.

Over the years, residents experienced several evictions, including one on 14 July 1995 when the settlement was completely destroyed and their leaders severely beaten. For 7 months, residents were forced to stay in the cold: at night they covered themselves with polythene paper and packed up their belongings in the daytime to avoid detection. Their construction materials were carried away by the City Council askaris and they had to start afresh by building simple structures in 1996. But in 1998, a fire in the settlement killed one person and almost entirely obliterated residents’ property. In December 2001, another fire left 2 people dead. The residents say that incident was a case of arson since houses had been locked on the outside.

The provincial administration has hindered reconstruction efforts everytime they are faced with calamities. There are no CBOs/NGOs working in the settlement and residents have in many instances relied on outside assistance only in emergency situations. Indeed the intervention by a priest of the Consolata Catholic Church was one of these efforts although the area provincial administration was actively opposed to efforts to assist the residents.

This settlement occupies one-eighth of an acre, and residents say the land is privately owned. They do not have details of the owners.

The village is estimated at 183 people living in 61 households.

There are 61 single-roomed structures, measuring 9 by 10 feet each, and mainly constructed with iron sheets.


  • • There are 4 latrines and 2 bathrooms made of iron sheets and with cement floors. The facilities are connected to the main sewer system and were built through the assistance of the Consolata Church.
  • • Masai has piped water sold at Ksh.2 per 20-liter can. The water project is managed by the residents and sustained through the vending of the water.
  • • Due to poor drainage, domestic wastewater and rainwater flow along the settlement’s paths.
  • • Garbage is thrown into the river near the village, which had served as the village’s latrine before current facilities were constructed
  • • There is no electricity in this settlement.
  • • Access to Maasai is through a narrow path that leads out to Parklands Fifth Avenue.


Most residents engage in small business, including producing and selling traditional brews, while fewer than ten people are formally employed. One resident keeps two goats.



The settlement is situated in Highridge Location. Suswa was established in 1963 by settlers who came to Nairobi seeking employment. For the most part, the settlement expanded through natural increase instead of in-migration. Current residents were mostly born in Suswa and consider it their home.

In 1986, the City Council ordered residents to pay Ksh. 100,000 as Council land rates for their plot.. Residents refused to do so, since the land had not been allocated to them. Moreover, they could not raise the funds.

A fire destroyed the entire village in 1999, and the provincial administration barred them from reconstructing their homes. The residents believe that this blaze and previous fire outbreaks were eviction attempts—but they decided to remain and eventually the area D.O. allowed them to rebuild their homes.

Residents say the settlement is on a Nairobi City Council road reserve measuring approximately 0.25 acres. They however do not have any proof of this.

The population is estimated at 1820 people, with adults comprising 56% of the total.


There are 150 structures in the settlement, over 70% constructed out of old iron sheets with carton lining on the insides. The rest are built of newer iron sheets provided by the Westland’s Consolata Church. The

settlement has six permanent structures. Most structures consist of single 8ft by 9ft rooms that usually accommodate a single household, though a few households occupy more than one room. In some instances, the rooms have been partitioned to create additional rental spaces. Half the structures are owned by resident structure owners, while the owners of the half reside elsewhere. Structure-owners typically own a single room, but a few own up to four rooms. Tenants make up one-third of the population, and rents vary from 500 to
1000 Ksh. per month.



  • Suswa has four communal toilets and four communal bathrooms. The toilets have piped water and are connected to the city’s sewer system.
  • The settlement also has a piped water point that acts as a communal laundry area. Water is sold at 2 Ksh. per 20-litre can.
  • There is no electricity in this settlement.
  • Children from Suswa attend nursery school at the school in neighboring Deep Sea settlement. Others go to school either at the Highridge City Council Primary School or North Highridge School. There is an artisan training workshop at Deep Sea Village that is open to the youth in Suswa.
  • The residents cite the Highridge NCC clinic and Kenyatta National Hospital as their main health care facilities.


Most of the labor force is employed as domestic workers in the surrounding Parklands and Westlands suburbs; a few are small business people or casual laborers.



The settlement is siutaed in Kitusuru Location. Kaptagat settlement was established on 30 March 1970 and by
1974 most of the current residents had already arrived, having been left out of the post-independence land demarcation process. When they could no longer afford to pay their rents, they settled in Kaptagat.

In 1978, individuals tried to claim the land but after residents petitioned the Ministry of Lands, their title documents were revoked. However, these individuals later persuaded the Lands Board to create the sub- divisions, which have persisted to date.


In 1990, the settlement was demolished and residents spent nights in the cold on the V-island on the junction to Loresho, the City center, and Kangemi. Residents have resisted several attempts to fence off the settlement, resulting in multiple arrests. But in a turnaround, a judge in 1988 dismissed an individual’s claim of ownership after his fence had been destroyed by Kaptagat residents.

Kaptagat is located on a road reserve, on land measuring less than 2 acres. There are 5 plots around the settlement, numbered 241, 837, 838, 839 and 840. The settlement began on plot number 241, and plots 839 and 840 are titled to private individuals. While 841 is allegedly private but lacks title. All were formerly part of the village.

There is an estimated population of 1600 in the village of Kaptagat. A total of 400 households occupy single rooms measuring 9 by 9 ft or 10 by 10 ft.

Structures are made using either old iron sheets or timber cut offs. More than 90% of these structures have earth floors, while the remaining 10% have cement floors in poor repair.


  • There are 8 latrines serving the entire population of Kaptagat, such that 200 people must share a single latrine. Residents have tried to construct additional facilities, but encountered resistance from the area chief.
  • There are few built-up bathrooms, and most of the residents bathe inside their houses.
  • The entire settlement lacks drainage, and water flows freely into the river below.
  • Water was connected to the village in 1978 and costs the residents Ksh.3 per 20-liter can. During shortages, water is also purchased from venders in Dagoretti at a cost of Ksh. 8 per 20-litre can.
  • Kaptagat is not connected to electricity, and only extremely narrow paths provide internal access.


Most residents are small-scale traders, but the area chief restricts their enterprises and forbids them from putting items freely for sale. Most youths find casual employment in the local industries around the settlement and in the transport business. These engagements are, however, infrequent and only one resident is said to be in full-time employment with a local agro-chemical firm. Only one resident keeps livestock; others keep poultry.



The settlement is situated in Kitusuru Location. Kibagare village was established in 1972 by coffee plantation workers, who had labored on the colonial farm now known as Loresho estate. Before leaving, the farm owners sold the land to private individuals who did not need the service of the workers. Having no business in the farm after the change of ownership these workers settled on a Kenya Railways reserve and remain there today.

Several calamities have befallen the community, including a fire in 1985 that nearly destroyed the village and another in 1987 that left three people dead. In 1990, the central Government carried out a demolition of the settlement, and several Kibagare residents died in the forceful swoop that was aimed at eradicating informal settlements in Nairobi

The Government in 1991 settled 170 people on alternative land in Embakasi Division, many residents were left out of the resettlement. Some moved elsewhere, though the majority was able to remain and continues to reside in the settlement.

Apart from the 1990 demolition, no one has ever claimed ownership of this land, which may reflect its status as a road and railway reserve.

Since Kibagare is situated on a road/railway reserve, this public utility land is under the trusteeship of the
Nairobi City Council. Residents believe the land measures 7 acres in total, the settled area comprising at least
4 acres.

An estimated 15,000 people, or 3,000 households, live in the settlement. These households each occupy a single room, although a few live in 2 rooms.

There is a mixture of structure owners and tenants in the settlement. About 60% of the structure- owners have two rooms each, while the others own between 8-10 rooms. Some are very highly-placed individuals in the local and central Government, and fewer than 30% actually reside in Kibagare.

Materials used in house construction include old iron sheets, cartons and mud/wattle poles, though there is a row of structures made of new iron sheets. Fewer than 40% of the structures have cement floors.

Local administration officers and elders charge steep allocation fees, which range from Ksh. 10,000 for space behind the front row housing. The charge for space to build one and two-roomed structures in the front row are Ksh 15,000 and 25,000 respectively,

Rents range between Ksh. 500 for the relatively new rooms that have cement floors and Ksh. 450 for the old rooms without cement floors.


  • In addition to 7 private latrines, there are 3 communal latrine structures with 3 doors each but no bathrooms. The 16 latrine doors translate to a ratio of 938 people per latrine. Because the facilities are not evenly distributed in the settlement residents must use open spaces or flying toilets.
  • There is no water drainage in the entire settlement and water drains freely from the structures to the road, where it forms small pools.
  • Garbage collection is not centralized and dumping occurs throughout Kibagare, blighting the area and posing significant health risks.
  • The settlement is served with piped water, with 12 points providing free access to water.
  • There is no electricity in this settlement.
  • An all-weather road serving the neighbouring Loresho Estate provides access to Kibagare, but promptly deteriorates to an earth road when entering the settlement.

About 40% of the residents are involved in small-scale business in the village or in the nearby Kagemi market, with women especially active as small-scale traders. Another 20% are involved in casual employment, typically as domestic laborers in Loresho, Westlands and Spring Valley areas. Fewer than 10% of residents are in full- time employment; the rest are either housewives or unemployed.

The settlement has received assistance from the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi, who also run the St. Martin
Centre Kibagare in the settlement.


The settlement is situated in Kangemi Location. Waruku was established in 1966 by former employees of colonial officials. They were either domestic workers or security personnel who had just left service and were on transit home or were searching for other jobs. Some of these initial residents were unable to return to their homes due to the fear of retaliation for their service to the colonial Government. They were perceived to have co-operated in oppressing the indigenous population. Others had been left out of land allocations in their former areas and therefore sought to settle anywhere they could.

Waruku was demolished several times throughout the 1970’s, and later suffered during the 1990 Muoroto demolition; fires also destroyed the village in 1987 and 1995. The settlement has also had a number of

misfortunes that included fire outbreaks in 1987 and 1995 that guttered down everything in the village and residents had to construct again from scratch. The residents say that through the years they faced a lot of challenges from the area Provincial Administration Residents proudly attribute their continued presence in Waruku to their persistence and tenacity.

Waruku is situated on a half-acre of City Council land, which includes a shopping centre.

There is an estimated population of about 420 people, comprising 60 households and occupying 2 rooms each. Nearly all the structures have earth floors and are made of old iron sheets, tins and cut-offs from trees.

95% of the structure owners are resident while the remaining 5% acquired land elsewhere but maintained structure ownership in this settlement for purposes of renting them out.


  • There are 9 latrines serving the entire population as well as the market nearby. Some of these are private.
  • Facilities therefore are extremely overburdened, and whenever the latrines fill up, residents are charged towards paying fees of Ksh. 3,000 to empty them.
  • As there is no drainage system in the settlement, domestic and rainwater flows freely on the paths.
  • Garbage collection is not centralized and wastes are scattered throughout the settlement.
  • Water is supplied in the settlement at water points and residents are charged Ksh. 3 per 20-litre container.
  • There is no electricity supply in the settlement.
  • Access to Waruku is provided by an all-weather road from Waiyaki Way. However, once inside the settlement, access is by an earth road and paths.


Approximately 60% of residents are involved in small-scale businesses within the village or the nearby
Kagemi market. The remainder is either in domestic industry, casual employment or unemployed/housewives.


Mji Wa Huruma

The settlement is situated in Kitusuru Location.This settlement was established in 1979 when squatters on nearby coffee farms were forced to give way to new owners or residential estates These workers had been forced out of this land and got settled here by the area councilor. They initially were about 250 workers and a

majority of them were not married then. All the people who got settled here became structure owners. The population has since grown.

Several individuals have claimed land ownership, but no demolitions or eviction attempts have occurred. Until 1986, the settlement lacked piped water and the residents used water from Ruaka River was used for domestic purposes This was however interrupted by the channeling of sewage water into the river, from Runda in 1988.

The settlement at the moment has stretched to occupy the entire area that had been left out unfenced from the neighbouring old peoples’ home, which shares the same name as the settlement. The residents says,”We are not allowed by the authorities to expand the settlement onto the vast open land that surrounds our settlement. We in fact, were left out as we watched people get allocated land within Karura forest”.

This settlement is located on City Council Land next to Runda Evergreen Estate, on which Mji Wa Huruma home for the aged is also situated. The size of the land occupied by both the village and the home is estimated to be 8 acres, of which 5 acres are occupied by the village.

There is an estimated population of 2,065 in this settlement, totaling 413 households with an average of six members each. Each household occupies an estimated area of 22 by 10 ft. All residents are structure-owners occupying homes of mud and wattle, with roofs of iron sheets and tins. Hardly any of the structures have cement floors.


  • There are 10 latrines serving the whole village, and therefore most people use nearby open areas.
  • As there are no drainage facilities, water drains itself through the village to the river below. Homes have occasionally become flooded, particularly at night.
  • Garbage is disposed in the river below the settlement or in the bushes nearby.
  • Only one tap provides water for the entire village, at a cost of Ksh. 2 for a 20-litre can.
  • There is no electricity service in the village.
  • Cheleta Primary School and Muthaiga Dispensary provide educational and medical services for the residents.


The settlement’s work force is mostly engaged on neigbouring coffee farms, but a few are domestic workers and gardeners in the nearby estates of Runda and Evergreen. There are a few goats and chicken being reared

in this settlement. Almost every household is involved in keeping either goats or chicken. Residents are however not allowed to graze in the open area near the settlement.

Nitd (Native Industrial Training Department)

The settlement is situated in Kitusuru Location. NITD, formally known as KABETE NITD, borrowed its name from the nearby institution. However, it is popularly known as ‘N’. It is located approximately 13 km from the city center in Loresho sub-location, along Waiyaki Way. The major landmarks bordering this settlement are Telecom Exchange, Kabete police, and Kabete Technical Training Institute. The settlement was established in 1974 during road construction, and the workers sought refuge in what is now NITD. A veterinary group also obtained part of this land for its workers.

In 1992, clashes in areas such as Narok and Molo led to the provincial administration resettling some of the affected people at NITD. Others arrived after their property and housing were destroyed by fire; the chief brought in such residents having special cases.

The land is said to be approximately 2.5 acres and Government-owned (veterinary department). However, the police department has claimed ownership and even gone to the extent of marking their territory. There have been several eviction threats, most recently from the city council on 22nd January 2007. On 9th May, slum- dwellers in Westlands formed a committee to conduct land searches, and NITD was among the settlements represented in the new body.

The population is placed at approximately 1,800 or 600 families, with an adult-child ratio of 1:3.

There are approximately 100 structures with 300 rooms measuring 10 ft by 10 ft. Of these, 275 are residential units and the rest are used small businesses; rents are around Ksh. 1,500 for residential and Ksh. 2,500 for commercial rooms. Houses are built using old iron sheets and timber, and 95% of the rooms have cemented floors. Residents estimate the ratio of structure-owners living in the settlement to that of tenants at 1:12.


  • There are only three water points within the whole settlement, though some people have water at the household level. The water points are private and a 20-litre can costs Ksh. 5.
  • Public pit latrines are available in the settlement, but most are full. There are those plots that have pit latrines and this becomes a determining factor of the amount of rent to be paid.
  • Houses are usually flooded during the rainy season, and the waters sometimes mix with waste from latrines, posing a health risk.
  • Garbage is usually collected over time and deposited at the bus stop, where it is collected by the City
  • Council for a monthly fee of Ksh. 1,000.
  • A few houses have legal electricity connections, which they sublet to the rest at a fee of Ksh. 330 per bulb per month.
  • The nearest accessible post office is about 1 km away.
  • There are two churches within the settlement.
  • Located 1 km from NITD, the nearest school is Vet Lab Primary and provides free education as it is owned by the City Council. However, it is congested since it also accommodates children from Ndumboini. There is a private nursery school within the settlement that charges Ksh. 300 per month per child.
  • The nearest dispensary is Kangemi, which offers free services to children under the age of five and charges Ksh. 20 for the rest. But residents claim they are usually given prescriptions to purchase their own medicine, instead of being given. Most people receive prenatal and postnatal care at the centre.


Most residents are self-employed, engaging in trades such as vegetable vending, while the women also manufacture and sell charcoal. Average daily earnings range between Ksh. 50 to 150. Only 1% of the population is formally employed.

The settlement had a number of active savings groups, but most are dormant at the moment. The only NGO they interact with is Pamoja Trust through Muungano wa Wanavijiji, and residents have not benefited from the CDF.



The settlement is situated in Kitisuru Location and was established around 1976 by a woman known as Mama Mwaura, who used the site for farming. People seeking employment begged her for space to develop shelter, while others were allocated land by the then chief in the early 80’s.


Some individuals have claimed ownership of the land and have verbally threatened to evict the community, and the City Council has also threatened evictions if they do not build standard houses. The former water company has claimed ownership of about 100m by 100m of the land, but has yet to act upon its threat.

Residents believe it is Government land, though they lack proof, and the area totals approximately 3 acres including part of Fort Smith Road.

About 160 households are formed by 800 individuals, with the majority being children.

There are about 400 structures: houses are made of old iron sheets and wood, while some business structures are built using polythene. The houses measure 10ft by 15ft. Residential rents vary from Ksh. 1,000 to 1,500; business rents range from Ksh. 1,500 to 2,000. There are more structure-owners than tenants in this settlement.


  • Residents purchase water for Ksh.10 per 20-litre container, plus transport from a borehole in Kiambu located 3km from the settlement.
  • Sanitation is poor, as there are neither sewer systems nor toilets, and ‘flying toilets’ are often used. Some residents claim to use toilets in the nearest church and bars, though at times they are prohibited from doing so.
  • Residents maintain narrow open drainage channels to control flooding.
  • Disposal system is poor and solid wastes are strewn across open spaces.
  • Ndumboini lacks electricity—despite the fact that a KPLC supply line passes nearby.
  • Road access is good: the major highway is Waiyaki, along with the nearby Kapenguria and Fort Smith roads. The pathways in the settlement are a fairly well-spaced.
  • Children walk to Vetlab School, which is 3 km away, and a City Council school in Loresho about 4 km away.
  • Health care services are accessed at Kangemi dispensary (10km) or Gichagi in Kikuyu (4km) for treatment of gout complications, chest pains and malaria.
  • The area has several churches but no mosque.



Most residents run micro-businesses, with daily net incomes sometimes as low as Ksh. 75. Most women are homemakers.

The village has tribal associations to mobilize savings. Residents have not directly benefited from the CDF, and no CBOs/NGOs are working with them.


This settlement is located on Kigwa Road off Kiambu Road, in Westlands’ Kitusuru Location, Karura sub location. It is at the border of Kiambu and Nairobi, adjacent to Runda Estate and Runda police station. According to residents, Githogoro was established in 1991 by squatters working at the nearby coffee plantations or workers at the Village Market. Other residents were resettled by the provincial administration, and eventually people seeking employment came to live at Githogoro as well.

Residents have received verbal threats, mostly from the Road’s ministers, though they formed a settlement committee to counter plans for road construction. With the help of Runda Association, the committee identified an alternative site for the intended bypass, which is yet to be presented to the minister.

The settlement is said to be on road bypass land, measuring approximately 17 acres.

The population is estimated at 17,000, of whom around 10,000 are children.

There are 2000 structures in the settlement, mostly built using old iron sheets with wall papers or newspapers. A few have new iron sheets, and a large proportion has cemented floors. Most structures contain at least five rooms, with a 10 ft x 12 ft room housing a single household. A few households occupy more than one room, however. Tenants make up 90% of the population, while 10% are resident structure-owners. Rents range from Ksh. 300 to 1,700, depending on the building materials.


  • There are around 10 water points owned by individuals who charge Ksh. 2-3 per 20-litre can.
  • There are about 30 well-distributed public toilets, which are in good condition and can be used free of charge.
  • Drainage is very poor, with dirty water stagnant in most of the trenches.
  • The garbage dumpster is located next to the chief’s office, but it is not centrally located. Residents therefore dispose wastes on the terraces to avoid the long walk to the dumpster.
  • There is electricity in the settlement: people with formal connections sub-let their power at a monthly rate of Ksh. 400-500. Such payments are known as “Ksh/bulb.”
  • Children attend school at Cheleda Primary, which is Government-owned. Nearby there are around 8 private schools charging between Ksh. 300- 1,000 per month. Older children attend Gumbaro classes at Githogoro informal school and the SDA church.
  • Government hospitals at Mji wa Huruma and Kiambu are the main health care centres, with affordable charges of just Ksh. 20. There is a Gertrude’s branch within Githogoro, but the fee of Ksh.150 is too expensive for most residents. There are several other private hospitals nearby, and those who can afford them enjoy a choice in facilities. The most common ailments are flu and malaria. The infant mortality rate is a bit elevated, due to the prevalence of child fever.
  • There are as many as 100 churches in this settlement but only one mosque. Residents have identified a site for a social hall, which is currently lacking in the village.

The majority of the workforce is employed in the surrounding Runda suburbs as domestic workers. A few are either small business people or casual laborers, especially in construction sites. They estimate their minimum wage at about Ksh. 250.

CDF financed the roofing of Cheleda Primary school where most children attend, and LATF has built several toilets. The latter has also poured murram on Kigwa Road, which one must travel 2 km to reach the settlement. The people of this settlement work very closely with the Chief and his assistant, in addition to having a village committee. The settlement has a youth group and men also claim to collect savings, but they lack information on possible activities to initiate. The Runda Association has also been of great help, especially during the threat of eviction.


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